Just Stop Oil stages slow march through Leeds

Over 30 supporters of Just Stop Oil [1] staged a slow march in Leeds today, starting just after 11am from the Art Gallery.

Those taking part in the march are demanding that the government heed the advice of the International Energy Agency, the United Nations and a majority of the UK public and cease granting licences for new oil and gas projects immediately. [2][3][4]

Just Stop Oil is hosting online talks every Sunday at 5pm and most Tuesdays at 7pm (details at juststopoil.org) and invites all those who are concerned about Rishi Sunak’s pledge to “max out” the UK’s oil and gas reserves in the face of mounting evidence that the climate crisis is spinning out of control. [5]

Greg Sculthorpe from Doncaster, who is attending the march today said:

“This isn’t about hugging trees, this is about having enough food to feed your starving children, this is about keeping them safe when people are fighting for food. We need to resist new oil and gas while we still can.

“We’ve had enough of this government’s lies. We all know that we cannot continue adding carbon into the atmosphere without consequence. The consequences are already unfolding around us. Panicking holiday makers in flip flops fleeing wildfires on Greek islands, floods and storms sweeping away houses and cars in China, India banning rice exports after heavy rains have decimated crops: nowhere is safe.”

Another attendee from Leeds said:

“Politics is broken, it seems incapable of getting us out of this mess. The government is literally risking our survival for short term profits while offering nothing but culture wars and divisive rhetoric against NHS workers and vulnerable refugees. We are all struggling to get by while oil and gas companies are making record profits and giving millions in illegal donations to the Conservative Party.

“We all need to get on the streets and march together in solidarity. We have much more in common than the fossil fuelled media would have us believe. We are many and they are few and we will win, while this criminal government will be charged with crimes against humanity. It is only a matter of when. “

At the end of July, the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged to “max out” the UK’s oil and gas reserves while announcing 100 new oil and gas licences. Since then there has been near universal condemnation across parliament and civil society. Fifty MPs and peers, from all major parties, have written to the energy secretary to demand a rethink. Conservative MP and former Science Minister Chris Skidmore said that the decision was “wrong” while the rest of the world was experiencing record heatwaves and that history will not look favourably on it. He said he would ask the speaker for an emergency debate when parliament returns from its summer break. [6] [7]

The civil service union, PCS, has said that “statements made by senior politicians which argue that increasing domestic fossil fuel extraction is compatible with the UK and global net zero commitments are not correct.” They suggest that if the Prime Minister was a civil servant he would stand in breach of the Civil Service Code as his announcement was not rooted in evidence and is in fact misleading. [8]

A spokesperson from Just Stop Oil said:

“The government plans to licence over 100 new oil and gas projects despite mounting evidence that this will impose unimaginable suffering and destroy the lives and livelihoods of billions of people. New oil and gas will push the world past irreversible tipping points, destroy our ability to grow food and risk the collapse of human civilisation. Everything we know and love is threatened. To pursue new oil and gas, in full knowledge of these consequences, isn’t just a crime against humanity. It is the greatest crime in human history.”

“We will not let this stand. We refuse to die quietly. Civil resistance is no longer an option, it is a necessity. In late October, thousands of people will join Just Stop Oil in London to march on the roads, and we will not stop until we win. Sign up for action here: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/take-action-with-just-stop-oil/”


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Notes to Editors

[1] Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups working together to demand that the government immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK. Just Stop Oil is a member of the A22 Network of civil resistance projects. Climate Emergency Fund is Just Stop Oil’s primary funder for recruitment, training, and capacity building.

Just Stop Oil ‘Blue Lights’ policy: our policy is, and has always been, to move out of the way for emergency vehicles with siren sounding and ‘blue lights’ on.

[2] No new oil, gas or coal development if world is to reach net zero by 2050, says world energy body: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/18/no-new-investment-in-fossil-fuels-demands-top-energy-economist

[3] In 2022, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called new fossil fuel expansion “moral and economic madness” and said that “the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels”. https://press.un.org/en/2022/sgsm21228.doc.htm

[4] Recent public opinion polls
60% of the UK public list either wind, solar or nuclear as the form of energy generation they support the most versus only 6% who favour oil or gas. https://yougov.co.uk/topics/science/trackers/which-form-energy-generation-has-the-most-support
40% of the UK public support an outright ban on new oil and gas versus 32% who oppose. https://yougov.co.uk/topics/consumer/survey-results/daily/2023/05/30/adad6/1

[5] Climate change is out of control says UN https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jul/07/first-thing-climate-change-out-of-control-un-says

[6] Rishi Sunak’s approval of hundreds of new North Sea oil and gas licences has been met with widespread condemnation amid the growing possibility of climate litigation.

[7] Fifty MPs and peers, from all major parties, have written to the energy secretary to demand a rethink on the Rosebank oil field.

[8] Major civil service union says that increasing domestic fossil fuel extraction is not compatible with the UK and global net zero commitments, warns that its members will refuse to provide inaccurate or misleading information to the public and asks the government to reconsider its decision to issue new oil and gas licences.